On August 24, 2019, Chicago partner Avanti Bakane was a featured panelist at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) 2019 Central Regional Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bakane spoke on the topic of Missed Opportunities in the Legal Profession: Recognizing Implicit and Affinity Biases and Implementing Sustainable Diversity Practices to Develop our Next Generation of Leaders. Joining Bakane were panelists Sonia Arnold, General Counsel for Lilly Oncology, Ann Chen, Assistant General Counsel at Eli Lilly and Company, and Aimee Gong, Litigation Counsel at Zimmer Biomet.
The panelists gave thoughtful insight on questions such as: Is diversity a box to checkmark when hiring outside counsel, or in-house personnel? Are implicit biases heightened in a less-diverse environment such as the Midwest? Are inclusive hiring strategies passive in a less-diverse population?
Bakane gave unique perspective into what law firms can do to promote not only diversity but inclusion efforts to retain diverse talent. The group discussed how law firms and companies must work together on these important goals should we want the legal field to be representative of the population at large.